News Danny Dyer ‘proud’ he’s helped young gay men come out

The new star heaped praise upon the touching EastEnders storyline his character Mick Carter has been part of

Barton hopes his form has convinced doubters

Newcastle United and Joey Barton should have been a match made in heaven right from the off, but three-and-a-half years on they finally seem to have started to click. It's that time of year to reflect on Christmas past. Barton needs little reminding of his whereabouts in 2007, sat in a cell, shortly to be convicted of punching a teenager in the head 20 times, the culmination of a drunken night out that would see him serve 77 days of a six-month sentence for assault. Surely the doors on the last-chance saloon had been locked shut this time?

You Better Not Cry, By Augusten Burroughs

Written in the same self-deprecating, gently witty vein as David Sedaris' quirky vignettes, these thematic stories of Christmas confusions and misdemeanours are a delightful read.

The top 20 TV programmes for the festive season

In the not-too-distant past, tradition dictated that the whole family watched television together on Christmas Day, but what we view and how we view it has undergone a transformation. Gerard Gilbert reports and selects the 20 programmes not to miss during the festive season

The Jesus story with a hint of EastEnders

Tony Jordan's latest BBC drama proves you don't have to be a believer to make a good Nativity film, says Gerard Gilbert

JB Shorts 4, Joshua Brooks Bar, Manchester

The little festival of six playets known as JB Shorts is becoming something of a tradition in Manchester. This is the fourth year in which a group of writers and actors from TV soaps get together to do the kind of work that they wouldn't be allowed to do on the telly but which was what brought them into writing and acting in the first place. Denizens of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Coronation Street, Holby City, Casualty, Two Pints of Lager, Heartbeat produce two hours that are polished, poignant and provocative.

Tanztheater Wuppertal / Pina Bausch, Sadler's Wells, London<br/>Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Barbican Theatre, London

These are unquestionably giants of modern dance, but what contrasts these performances reveal

First 'Kama Sutra' audio book made

Historic sex guide the Kama Sutra is to be published as an audio book for the first time.

Swearing: When a curse can be a blessing

There's nothing like a spot of precision swearing on TV. It may not be big, says Fiona Sturges, but it can be clever

Fire to mark last orders for Eastenders' Queen Vic

One of the UK's most famous pubs will go up in flames as EastEnders' Queen Vic is destroyed by fire later this year, TV bosses confirmed today

BBC 1 will go HD by end of year

Programmes such as EastEnders, The Apprentice and The One Show are to be broadcast in high definition by the end of the year as the whole of BBC 1 goes HD, it was announced yesterday.

9.9m watched TV election debate

An audience of 9.9 million viewers watched last night's historic election debate between the three party leaders, figures showed today.

Ruck and Maul: Greenwood is punished by his own pupils at 'School of Hard Knocks'

Ever fancied giving a rugby pundit a good pasting? Sky Sports' 'School of Hard Knocks' will do it for you, in episode four of the series to be aired next Tuesday night. Will Greenwood and Scott Quinnell are attempting to turn a bunch of East London ex-criminals and ne'er-do-wells into a rugby team, and the latest episode sees one player, known as Lucky, pile into Greenwood during a tackle session. A suitably gravelly voiceover comes from Steve "Phil Mitchell" McFadden of 'Eastenders' – surprising really, when Ross Kemp is the real-life rugby fan among the fictional brothers. Anyway, with two more episodes to come even the relentlessly positive Greenwood, whose dad Dick was one of England's greatest coaching innovators, is wondering if this motley crew are worth all the aggro.

Can telly still draw a crowd?

Despite the growing trend for 'event dramas', the nation rarely watches TV en masse, argues Fiona Sturges

Two Women, Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London

Women on the verge of cliché
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A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
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Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

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Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

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Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
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House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

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When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

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International Tap Festival comes to the UK

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War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
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BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

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Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
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